Kelly confident B's will avoid Stanley Cup hangover


Kelly confident B's will avoid Stanley Cup hangover

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Chris Kelly had been to the Stanley Cup Finals before last season, and he knows what the hangover year is all about.

Kellys Ottowa Senators didnt capture the Cup in 2006-07, losing to the Anaheim Ducks in five games, but Ottawa played all four rounds of the playoffs and was still skating into the month of June.

Kelly played in 20 games that postseason after skating in all 82 regular-season contests, and he knows the potential pitfalls of a short summer and worrying too much about the start to the regular season. During the next season the Senators were under new management and a new head coach when the team of Bryan Murray and John Paddock took over, and Ottawa stormed out the gate with a 23-3 record over the first couple of months.

But a little normal seasonal fatigue, combined with the previous years long playoff run hit the Senators hard down the stretch that season, and they were an easy first-round victim of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in the playoffs.

Clearly the situation was a little different there than it is in Boston. The Senators didnt actually win the Stanley Cup and there were some personality quirks on some of those Senators teams.

But Kellys lesson is clear: Dont be so intent to prove there is no Stanley Cup hangover early in the season and then leave little in the gas tank for the stretch run and playoffs.

Thats a big part of the reason why the Bruins' front office forbade their players from showing up for organized practices prior to Labor Day. The Bs want their players in good playoff position by Thanksgiving, but they know having them rested and ready come playoff time is the priority.

Paddock wanted us to come in, you know, in the best shape possible and really get off to a great start. We did that. I think we got out to a 23-3 record and won all our preseason games, but that year we barely snuck into the playoffs. I think it came down to the last game or the second last game for us to make it.

We ended up getting swept four straight in the first round. I think that was a good lesson to learn that its a long season, you know, and you don't want to peak too soon. The 82 games are in place for a reason. I think the coaching staff and management and players, we know that and know there's not going to be any easy nights for us. We want to stay focused from the first game right to the last one.

Kelly knows the hangover talk will be part of the entire post-Stanley Cup lexicon this season, and hes ready to deal with it. There will be fatigue that needs to be overcome, there will be teams looking to knock the Bruins off their top rung and there will be mass amounts of adversity as there was last season.

I think everyone's going to talk about the Stanley Cup hangover and that comes with the territory, said Kelly. That's what happens when you win. I'm sure Chicago went through it all last year. I think it's a mind-set that we're all aware of and something that you need to focus on.

You need to come to the rink each and every day and work that much harder because the rest of the teams are going to play you hard. You're a measuring stick to the rest of the league right now.

The official start to measuring stick season is Oct. 6, and it appears that Kelly among others will be ready for it.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

BOSTON – It certainly feels appropriate that Patrice Bergeron would author a clutch game-winning goal late in the third period of his first game back after missing a week of games with a lower body injury. That Bergeron’s game-winner also arrived in the home opener at TD Garden was an added bonus once No. 37 hammered a shot from the high slot with 1:15 to go in the third period to give the Bruins their first lead of the game in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

The goal arrived courtesy of a nifty setup from linemate Brad Marchand working behind the New Jersey net, and also thanks to David Pastrnak winning a battle in the corner thanks to newfound grit in his game. But the hero of the day again turned out to be No. 37, who went from missing an entire week of action to reclaiming his center role on the top line, playing 16:49 of ice time and winning 13-of-24 face-offs while generating five shot attempts.

“I think it’s pretty obvious with what he did [against the Devils]. After being off for over a week and to come back and have one practice with us then back into the game, he scores a clutch goal for us. That’s what he has always been, a clutch player for us,” said Claude Julien. “I think the third period we gave it a really good push there and I like seeing that from our team that you come out and you don’t play on your heels and you push hard and we went down by a goal but we got our game going like I said and we got a couple goals to win this for us.”

Bergeron modestly said postgame that he was just trying to get into the flow of the game after missing a healthy chunk of time with injury. But he certainly looked like he was vintage form once it crunch time. The timing was perfect as he stepped into the one-timer shot off Marchand’s pass, and beat Cory Schneider amid a strong 34-save performance by the kid from Marblehead.

“I mean I was just trying to, I guess, get my feet wet right away and use the first few shifts to kind of just get, feel good about my positioning and my skating,” said Bergeron. “As the game went on I just felt better. Of course you want to start on a good note, especially at home, and we talked about our home record in the last few years. We wanted to do the job early, especially in the first game, and it’s one step but we’re happy with it.”

It was like Bergeron didn’t miss a single beat after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, and those kinds of instincts and natural ability are things worth marveling about when it comes to the Bruins.

“I was feeling good [on the ice],” said Bergeron. “It would have been nice to ride the wave of the World Cup, but that being said I thought in the first I was trying to be good position ally and kind of get myself going with the first few shifts, and just kind of go from there. Overall I thought that happened.”

While the comeback win was certainly good news for the Bruins, the best news of all is that Bergeron has returned to the lineup with no signs of an injury that surprised everybody right before the start of the regular season.